Utkal Express derailment: Suresh Prabhu asks authorities to fix responsibility by today evening
Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu on Sunday directed AK Mittal, the Chairman of Railway Board, to fix responsibility on prima facie evidence by end of the day.
At least 23 people were killed and over 70 injured in a major derailment when around 14 coaches of the Kalinga Utkal Express bound for Haridwar in Uttarakhand went off the tracks with one of the coaches mounting on another near Khatauli, Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday evening.
"Will not allow laxity in operations by the [Railway] Board. Have directed CRB to fix responsibility on prima facie evidence by end of day." railway minister Suresh Prabhu tweeted on Sunday.
In another tweet, the minister added that restoration work is on in full swing at the accident site in Khatauli, Muzaffarnagar. "Restoration is top priority.7 coaches tackled. Also ensuring best possible medical care for the injured. Monitoring situation closely."
Prabhu also announced Rs 3.5 lakh ex-gratia compensation for those who lost their lives, Rs 50,000 for the seriously injured and Rs 25,000 for those who received minor injuries.
However, the exact cause of the incident is yet to be assertained. Reports sugguest that negligence led to the horrific train accident at Muzzafarnagar. The track was under repair, but the driver of the train was not informed about the same.
Railway officials said at least 15 metres of the track had been taken off and was being replaced when the Puri-Haridwar train appeared.
Meanwhile, trains passing through the Meerut line of the Northern Railway have been either cancelled or diverted till 6 pm today, in the wake of the tragic accident.